Lord Coe dismisses 2012 security fears despite riots

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter

Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games (Locogexternal-link), says he was "happy" members of the International Olympic Committee (IOCexternal-link) were in London this week - despite some of the worst scenes of rioting in nearly three decades.

While England's football international friendly against the Netherlands was called off, the Badminton World Championships at Wembley Arena and the beach volleyball Olympic test event at Horse Guards Parade continued with little distraction.

"The images that have been beamed around the world have been disfiguring, and as a Londoner I probably find that as perplexing as the next person," Lord Coe told BBC Sport.

"That's not the London I recognise.

"But the 205 national Olympic committees have effectively seen a city, test events and world championships all going ahead under pretty much normal circumstances."

The build-up to the Athens Olympics in 2004 was marred by security fears following bomb attacks on the Greek capital in the months leading up to the Games.

However, Lord Coe insists that despite the recent unrest, London is a city which is "well capable of staging an Olympic Games."

He said: "Security is always a big issue - there's not been an Olympic Games since 1972 and in my lifetime of watching an Olympics, which has not been underpinned by security.

"I am confident that we will have contingency plans in place and be prepared for all eventualities in a year's time - treat it in a way as a test."

Many of the images of the rioting across the capital revealed the presence of a number of teenagers at the height of the problems and when pressed on whether he felt many of London's youth had yet to embrace the Olympic spirit, Lord Coe admitted: "There is a lot of work to do.

"We must not run away with the idea that what we saw, particularly amongst some young people this week, is totemic of what this country is about - it isn't.

"However, there was clearly a problem and no-one is going to dismiss that and far smarter people than me will have to figure that out.

"What I would say is that the Olympic Games has given opportunity to young people in very challenged circumstances.

"I've spent a lot of time in those boroughs - we have 24,000 schools which one way or another are tied into our Olympic education programmes and these can help young people."